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Ringworld: The Graphic Novel, Part One    by Larry Niven, Robert Mandell & Sean Lam order for
by Larry Niven
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a graphic novel version of the first part of Larry Niven's legendary 1970 SF classic, Ringworld. In it, after the end of the Man-Kzin Wars, two-hundred-year-old Louis Wu is recruited on 2850 Earth by two-headed alien puppeteer Nessus for a space adventure to explore an alien artifact. Puppeteers' 'whole ethical system is based on cowardice', which makes them entertaining and engaging characters.

Nessus hires two other crew members - Kzin warcat Speaker-to-Animals and the infinitely lucky Teela Brown, another human. The Puppeteer uses a tasp (which 'jolts the pleasure center of the brain') to control the aggressive Kzin as they journey together, their first stop the moving Puppeteer home world.

They travel on and crash land on Ringworld. They make first contact with its inhabitants, who consider them blasphemers. The two humans and the Kzin learn how the Puppeteers have meddled with the evolution of both their races. And they wonder how a civilization of the size and power of the Ringworlders could have failed. Their exploration ends on a cliffhanger, which will leave fans anxious for more.

Though I like the idea of broadening the audience of great science fiction via graphic novels, it didn't work well for me with Ringworld. There's just too much going on here to convey through images and minimal text. However, the graphic novel will be of interest to those who are already fans of the original and just might encourage more readers for the full novel.

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